The controversial, US-backed Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a danger to the future of the internet, freedom of speech and human rights, prominent IT journalist Veiko Tamm has said.
In an interview on ERR radio, Tamm characterized the agreement as a tool that governments could use to spy on their own citizens.
“If you judge it purely by the name, then it seems all well and good. But if you read the document carefully [you will find that] behind the mask of a cute, little puppy are the teeth of an angry wolf.”
“It's correct to say that there's a threat here. It doesn't mean that [governments] will immediately start tracking everyone, but this agreement gives them that opportunity. Name one government that wouldn't use the power to spy on its own citizens or foreign nationals,” he said.
If passed, ACTA would allow authorities to keep track of what sites a person visits and what he downloads, without permission from the courts, he said.
Tamm also hit back at comments by Prime Minister Andrus Ansip on February 8, in which Ansip likened the anti-ACTA movement in Estonia to the “hysteria” over the 2009 swine flu outbreak which, he said, forced the government to waste money on vaccine stockpiles.
According to Tamm, Ansip is not up on the facts.
“[Ansip] was playing Russian roulette with an unloaded revolver and still managed to put a bullet in his forehead. He tried to show that those who are fighting against ACTA are fools. His main argument was why isn't Germany doing anything, why aren't other countries doing anything?”
“But if you look on the internet, you will see that on February 11 there will be big rallies in Europe, including in Tallinn and Tartu. In Germany alone, more than 100,000 people have signed up for these rallies. Ansip said that in Germany nobody was opposed to ACTA,” Tamm said.
Simultaneous anti-ACTA demonstrations planned for Tallinn and Tartu, due to take place at 13:00 on Saturday, have so far attracted about 4,000 sign-ups on Facebook.